Posts Tagged ‘Rotterdam Film Festival’

The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: Emerging Visions, Part 2

March 11, 2010

First-time filmmakers often feel like they’re buried beneath the topsoil of indifference. Fortunately, SXSW is there ready with a shovel to help them arise blinking into the bright light shed by Indiewire.com. In the second part of our prEView (see what we did there?), there is among the budding sprouts films about aging, death, vengeance, and poverty. On the brighter side, there’s also a sure candidate for the greatest movie ever made about a parking lot. We’re serious! Click on the titles to watch trailers and more.

Read our SXSW Headliners Preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.

The Parking Lot Movie

To many, the parking lot is just a parking lot. To the attendants of a Charlottesville, Va., business, it’s a livelihood, a way station between brighter things, or possibly the most rewarding job of their lives. Meghan Eckman and Christopher Hlad hope to do for the humble tarmac what Spellbound did for spelling bees. It’s safe to say that you will never look at a sign reading “$5 for the half hour” the same way again.

Passenger Pigeons

The coalfields of Eastern Kentucky are the terminal backdrop for an intersecting series of narratives. Since that’s about all we know about writer-director Martha Stephens film—aside from the fact that a dead miner looms over all our characters—we’ll remind you that the region has given us such country music acts as Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, the Judds and Tom T. Hall.

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Berlin 2010 Preview: Generations, Part 3

February 10, 2010

It may be true that all you need to make a film is a girl and a gun, but children have been an integral element since the Lumieres photographed a baby’s luncheon in 1895. Berlin’s Generations sidebar continues the tradition with over 50 features and shorts for and about those unknowable little buggers we like to call “the kids.” In the final installment of our preview, their stories range from life on the Georgia streets to South Korean orphanages to Michael Cera’s overactive imagination. Click on the titles to watch trailers.

Read the first part of our Berlin: Generations preview.
Read the second part of our Berlin: Generations preview.

Susa

Susa is a 12-year-old whose job delivering bootleg vodka takes him to some of the grimier corners of Georgia. He’s threatened by the police on one side and street gangs on the other. This grim existence is alleviated only by the promise that Susa’s father will one day return. Rusudan Pirveli’s feature debut also screened in the Bright Future sidebar at the 2010 Rotterdam Film Festival.

Te extraño (I Miss You)

Director Fabian Hofman’s film is set among Argentine exiles living in Mexico. The teenager Javier is haunted by the memory of his older brother, who was killed by the military junta. Everybody wants to Javier to be the leader Adrian was. But all Javier wants is to be himself—whoever that is.

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Trailerama: Red White & Blue

February 8, 2010

On Austin’s bar scene, a troubled slut, damaged Iraqi war vet and wannabe rock star collide in unpleasant ways. The second film from British filmmaker Simon Rumley, who directed the well-received The Living and the Dead. Screened at this year’s Rotterdam Film Festival, where Dave Calhoun called it “a chilling film, part character study, part thriller.” Just a warning, the trailer is unsafe to view at work, unless your workplace appreciates breasts and threesomes.

Rotterdam 2010 Preview: VPRO Tiger Awards

January 22, 2010

The Rotterdam International Film Festival introduced the VPRO Tiger Awards in 1995. Each year, three prizes are awarded to filmmakers for their first or second film. Winners have included Lou Ye (Suzhong River) and Kelly Reichardt (Old Joy). In contention this year are a host of deadly serious films, tackling family relationships, leave-taking of many stripes and that old stand-by sex … often in the raw and ragged manner of contemporary cinema. The contenders also comprise a tour of emerging cinemas from Costa Rica to Georgia.

Agua fría de mar (Cold water of the Sea)

The pitch: A couple looking to sell their property on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast meet a seven-year-old stray.
Their lives are changed forever? Well, the tot certainly throws emotions and class boundaries into sharp relief in Paz Fabrega’s debut feature.

Alamar (To the Sea)

The pitch: A young man goes on a fishing trip with his father in the Caribbean’s Chinchorro reef.
Lots of booze and marlin to be had? It’s certainly an exercise in male bonding. Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio’s documentary approach to his story means the egrets get as much attention as the relationships.

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Rotterdam 2010 Preview: Spectrum Premieres

January 21, 2010

How best to define the Rotterdam Film Festival’s Spectrum sidebar? The site declares that it “brings together highlights of the film year, new work by prominent auteurs and topical, strong and innovative films by accomplished filmmakers.” So really, any old tat. This year’s assortment is particularly lively. As well as a prime cut of Dutch perversity, there are tactile love stories from Thailand, a pair of robust films from the Philippines, the return of Chris Petit, and an Austin-set horror flick. Sharp and sexy, the Spectrum is festival popcorn without tears.

Ang Mundo sa Panahon ng Bato (Stone is the Earth)

Last year the world got the first intimations that Filipino cinema was undergoing a kind of renaissance. Ramon Mes de Guzman moved to filmmaking after becoming a literary success with the short story collection Barriotic Punk. He follows up his festival hit The Road to Kalimugtong with the story of a rural family. A homecoming is followed by a discovery which threatens to undo them all.

Content

Writer/director Chris Petit’s 1980 debut Radio On was the kind of film it’s hard to live down. Shepherded by Wim Wenders, the mix of British road movie and rock ‘n’ roll is still a touchstone for cultists and psychogeographers alike (Petit is profiled in Iain Sinclair’s Lights Out for the Territory.) His latest promises more of the glorious same. Another journey is mediated by a new century and the zen of the stick shift.

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Rotterdam 2010 Preview: Bright Futures, Part 2

January 20, 2010

The second half of the Bright Futures slate at this year’s Rotterdam International Film Festival is dominated by homecomings. Documentary filmmakers go back to their roots to perform their investigations into history both personal and political. Sometimes it’s the dislocation which throws the contradictions of society into sharp relief. With all this brow-furrowing going on, it’s a relief to find some old stand-bys like the British comedy of embarrassment and a coming-of-age-among-the-tulips tale. The IRFF runs between January 27 and February 7. Oxygen tents will be available after the screening of The Sentimental Engine Slayer.

Mijn Enschede

The pitch: In 2000, the Dutch city of Enschede was ripped apart by a deadly fireworks factory explosion. Native filmmaker Astrid Bussink revisits the scene.
There’s still some fallout? It’s a personal journey of sorts. Bussink left the city the day the factory blew up. Since then she’s won awards for short documentaries like The Angelmakers and brought her first feature, The Lost Colony, to Rotterdam in 2008. Living within spitting distance of the memorial, the film filters the question of who’s to blame through her efforts at understanding.

Nuit Bleue

The pitch: Another story of return. Corsica is seen through the eyes of a homecoming expat, which reveal its patriarchal social structure and beautiful landscape.
I’ll book my vacation soon. It’s not all Lonely Planet eye-candy. Artist Ange Leccia has branched out into film to experiment with sound. There’s no dialogue anywhere in the film.
Immersive! The notes, however, do promise Serge Gainsbourg’s “Ne dis rien” on the soundtrack.
That’s funny. In the Bright Futures sidebar, you take your laughs where you can find them.

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Rotterdam 2010: Bright Future Premieres, Part 1

January 20, 2010

The Rotterdam Film Festival has a reputation for supporting the work of new filmmakers through the Hubert Bals Fund. The Bright Future sidebar focuses on directors making their first or second film. Too bad nobody took the title very seriously. Features and documentaries alike this year tackle dead serious issues while also bending the limits of their respective genres. In the first part of our sidebar preview, the curriculum includes Brazilian gentrification, African genocide and baby fever gone bad. The IRFF runs between January 27 and February 7. No razor blades or exhaust pipes will be allowed in the theatre.

Avenida Brasilia Formosa (Defiant Brasilia)

The pitch: A Recife neighborhood is relocated to make way for a coastal motorway.
The evils of gentrification, eh? Gabriel Mascaro’s film is closer to a portrait of the transplanted barrio. Mixing fact and fiction, the changing ‘hood is seen through the eyes of a videographer waiter and his clients.
Any shooting? Only the filmic variety. The subjects include a little boy who wants to be Spider-Man and a girl who is applying to be on Idolos Brazil.

El camino entre dos puntos (The Way Between Two Points)

The pitch: An oil worker in Patagonia lights out for the territory, where he witnesses the struggle between man and nature.
Does he turn into a blue alien smurf? Nope. This is the first feature from video artist Sebastian Diaz Morales, whose work has been described as “filmic narratives embracing stories that sometimes resemble science fiction, sometimes with certain catastrophic overtones, and in which there is an ever-present common denominator of a minimalist narrative style wherein the camera is always moving and in which the characters virtually function as metaphors for a story that goes beyond the anecdote to reveal problems of great scope in current society.”
Phew! Like I said, does he turn into a blue alien smurf? The results look closer to a combination of There Will Be Blood’s celebration of imperialism with the badlands of No Country for Old Men. But let’s move on, shall we?

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Trailerama: De Vliegenierster Van Kazbek (The Aviatrix of Kazbek)

January 11, 2010

Maria dreams of one day escaping Texel. Her sleepy island home gets livelier with the Nazi occupation. They bring along a Kazbek battalion, who alleviate their homesickness with screenings of The Aviatrix of Kazbek. Maria is swept away on a tide of passionate cinephilia … With Anamaria Marinca of 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days fame. Ineke Smits’s historical drama is due to screen at the Rotterdam and Netherlands film festivals.

Trailerama: Avenida Brasilia Formosa (Defiant Brasilia)

January 9, 2010

An entire neighborhood was moved to make way for the Brasilia Formosa coastal road. This mixture of documentary and drama looks at how the relocation has affected residents as diverse as a toothless fisherman and a girl aspiring to be on Idolos Brazil. Gabriel Mascaro’s film is due to premiere at this year’s Rotterdam Film Festival.

Trailerama: Todo, en fin, el silencio lo ocupaba (All Things Were Now Overtaken By Silence)

January 8, 2010

There must be a technical term which describes that industrial hum. It’s become a trademark of 21st century filmmaking. What’s missing in this trailer for Nicolas Pereda experimental documentary is the centerpiece, a recitation of the poem “First I Dream” by performance artist Jesusa Rodriguez. This black and white tone poem is set to screen at this year’s Rotterdam Film Festival.